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A 202-unit East Side apartment complex near the Central Park Plaza has been sold to Buffalo investors Brett Fitzpatrick and Aaron Siegel for $8.57 million.

Siegel and Fitzpatrick acquired the 2.2-acre Amherst Gardens Apartments at 86 East Amherst St. through their Somerset Development Group LLC entity from Chesed Corp., controlled by Yaacov Einhorn of Brooklyn. The sales price equates to about $43,300 per unit.

Einhorn had owned the property for eight years and kept it “very well-maintained,” according to broker Cory Haqq of Hastings Cohn Real Estate, who handled the private transaction, which had been in the works for about six months.

That’s in stark contrast to the Central Park Plaza itself, whose out-of-town owner had neglected the derelict property for years, allowing conditions to deteriorate until the city finally forced him to sell it. Louis Ciminelli’s LPCiminelli bought it, demolished the remaining structures, cleared the sprawling land, and is now working to redevelop it.

“It wasn’t a bad situation at all,” Haqq said, referring to Amherst Gardens. “It was the right time to sell, the right time for the buyers, more than anything.”

Located at Amherst and Holden, about two blocks from Central Park Plaza, the apartment complex consists of 12 two-story garden-style buildings, with a mixture of two-bedroom, one-bedroom and duplex apartment units, with parking. Built in 1949, the 163,820-square-foot complex is more than 90 percent occupied, Haqq said.

Fitzpatrick and Siegel, who also have some smaller investors involved, now plan to inject $1.2 million into improvements to the complex, mainly in kitchens, roofs and plumbing, Siegel said.

“Ninety percent of our holdings are Class A apartments, and we’re bringing the same vision here,” Siegel said. “We want to make sure all of our tenants have quality housing.”

Fitzpatrick, through his Somerset Companies real estate development and management firm, owns and manages 10 apartment communities from Syracuse to Erie, Pa., including one other in Buffalo, three in Lancaster, one in Williamsville and one in Fredonia.

Siegel, a Canisius High School and University at Buffalo graduate and son of prominent Buffalo attorney Herb Siegel, spent 10 years working in financial services in New York City and London, first for HSBC Holdings Plc – including through its executive training program. He then joined Bank of America Corp. after obtaining an MBA from University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.

He returned to Buffalo nine years ago and started a private-equity firm, Franklin Asset Management, to buy and collect on $1 billion in “distressed” consumer debt. But he has since switched gears to focus on real estate investing in partnership with Fitzpatrick, a childhood friend.

The pair already teamed up to buy 79 units in Rochester, as well as Amherst Gardens, and are working on several other deals in the Buffalo market.

“We have a real belief in the East Side of Buffalo as a place to invest dollars, especially in that neighborhood where Ciminelli is constructing his vision,” Siegel said. “This was an out-of-town owner and we like the idea of bringing Buffalo assets back to Buffalo-based ownership.”

email: jepstein@buffnews.com